Google Play and Apple App Stores see thousands of mobile apps being published everyday. Some of the most common app types include social networks, ecommerce apps and by far the most popular, mobile games. Many of the challenges faced in mobile app development is the lack of understanding of how the base code works.
Small and medium sized businesses are some of the main producers of mobile apps, and in order to build a professional app you have to understand the process behind it completely and what it takes to get things running smoothly. Every app is different in its own way and so are the methodologies to and technologies needed to build them.
Why should you develop a mobile app?
- 1. Mobile statistics show that the average consumer spends over 5 hours a day on their smartphones
- 2. Out of these 5 hours, about 90% of the time is being spend on mobile apps
- 3. As much as 70% of web traffic happens on mobile devices
- 4. When it comes to choosing a mobile app over a mobile website, 85% of users pick the first one
- 5. 65% of U.S. online traffic originates from tablets and smartphones
- 6. On average, over 80% of social media network users spend their time on the mobile app rather than then using the desktop site
- 7. App revenue was estimated to be 71.3$ billion across Apple App Store and Google Play store, an increase of 22.7% from the previous year
There is plenty of evidence to support building a mobile app, but before the decision to move forward is not be taken lightly. There are around 1.8 billion apps each in both Google Play and Apple’s App stores, so it’s very important to fully comprehend the process that goes behind mobile app development and how your idea and eventually app will fit in your marketing goals and marketing niche. Let’s take a look at the objectives and challenges commonly found the app development lifecycle.
Even though it sounds rather trivial, in order to build a great app you need to start with an idea. It is best to have a mindset of finding a problem and a potential solution. Once you find a problem or a better way to improve market efficiency, you are half way to finding the right idea.
Then you need to check on why this problem exists and what other solutions exist, and why yours is better. Once you fully understand the problem you can begin to evaluate how your mobile app could solve this problem.
Market Research and Development Tech-Stack
Before you begin the development process you should firstly start out with a deep research into your target audience and your own business. You need to have answers for the following questions:
- 1. Who exactly is the audience you target?
- 2. In what ways do you want your customers to utilize the app?
- 3. What platform do you want your app the be used on?
- 4. What marketing strategy will you use to promote your app?
- 5. Who are your main competitors?
- 6. What development language and framework is best suited for your needs?
- 7. When do you plan on launching your app? What will the development timeline be?
Your app development team needs to have members with experience in relevant fields and departments, so you can get the most out of them. The early stages of development are often the most crucial, and it is important to have informed feedback and accurate data.
Unless you enjoy spending time and money on building apps for the sake of it, you’re most likely looking to profit off your mobile app. Several methods of monetization include in-app purchases, premium features, ad-revenue, subscription payments,traditional pay-to-use apps and selling user data. In order to determine which one is best suited to your strategy and needs you can take a look at what the market expects to pay for a service similar to yours.
Developing the app
This involves a number of steps and processes. If you are not using an app development platform or mobile BaaS(Backend as a Service), the development team will need to set up databases, storage solutions, APIs and servers for the backend infrastructure.
Always set up developer accounts on the app stores you wish your app to be used on. This process often takes several days and it is also good to read the app store guidelines so your app is accepted.
Now begins the programming and coding phase. In this stage, the developers will create mockups or screens of what the mobile app will actually look like. These renderings represent the interface that your users will interact with when using the app so make sure this design incorporates the feedback and ideas generated in the earlier testing phases. UI/UX details matter the most to how much your target audience enjoys using the app.
Once this process is finished comes the rigorous pre-release testing phase. The app needs to be tested in a variety of real-world scenarios to pinpoint any and all possible technical flaws, design inconsistencies and bugs. Never assume that only because it worked well in the development phase it will also work in the final release.
It is best to start out with a test audience before engaging the broader market spectrum. Make sure you have a way to collect user feedback and incorporate the most relevant feedback into your app. Once you are certain that is everything is working correctly, it’s time to begin the final preparations to launch your mobile app.
Getting ready for the launch
Time to get your marketing department ready and focus on keyword research, which is essential for SEO, and app store optimization (ASO) as this will increase the visibility of your app in the app stores. It is a good idea to get the marketing team involved early in the process so that this step can go more smoothly.
You will need a website or at the very least a landing page in order to promote and support your app. Additionally you can choose to have a demo or a promotional video at this point. This is crucial for awareness and branding as Google will index content both within your app and your app’s web page when determining the search result algorithm. Promote your app on your social media accounts and it is even better if you have a blog where you publish development updates.
Promote your official release through all available mediums and make sure you announce the release to everyone who showed interest prior to this release. Once the app is released, it is best to keep your users engaged and not rest on your laurels. Come up with a special offer or promotion to get more people interested in using your app. Marketing is an on-going process and the release-date efforts are only the beginning.
As a final step, make sure that you have a clear channel for users to express their feedback and be ready to respond to comments or plan update fixes for possible bugs. Analytics play a big part in this so pay good attention to them.
As soon as you have a firm understanding of these key development and marketing aspects you’ll be better prepared to develop the app that has the features and functions you want.